Indonesia is implementing emergency restrictions for two of its major islands in an attempt to contain the highly transmissible delta coronavirus variant.
President Joko Widodo announced new restrictions on Thursday for the islands of Java, which includes the country’s capital, Jakarta, and Bali, where officials were hoping to reopen to tourists.
The restrictions include closing mosques, schools, retail malls and sports facilities. Public spaces, such as beaches and parks, as well as tourist attractions must also close.
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Restaurants may only offer takeaway or delivery services and workers in nonessential jobs must work from home.
“The government will mobilize all available resources to overcome the spread of COVID-19,” Widodo said in a televised address. “This situation requires us to take more decisive steps so that we can together stem the spread of COVID-19,”
The emergency measures will go into effect on Saturday and remain in place until July 20, overlapping with the Muslin holiday of Eid al-Adha.
“As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has been growing rapidly in the last few days because of the new variant, which is also a serious problem in many countries,” the president said. “This situation requires us to take more resolute steps so that together we can curb the spread of COVID-19.”
The country reported a record 24,826 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, according to its health ministry. It also reported 504 deaths, another new high for Indonesia.
While the country was recording less than 2,500 daily cases just six weeks ago, the rise of the highly transmissible delta variant, first detected in India, is driving cases. The surge in cases is overwhelming Indonesia’s health care system, especially in the capital.
Indonesia has approved the COVID-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, as well as China’s Sinovac vaccine. As of June 30, the country, with a population of about 270 million, has administered approximately 40.34 million doses of the vaccines, according to the health ministry.